While Whistleblower has told stories of unhappy customers of work-at-home schemes and telemarketing abuse, the get-rich schemers haven’t given up on us. Earlier this week, an automated voicemail message on the Whistleblower line promised a huge boost for my business, if I just visited a web site called www.kitdawg.com.
Astoundingly, the web site had someone’s name and telephone number on it. I put in my inquiry, and Rodney Kitchen of Mesa, Arizona, called me back. Kitchen is a truck driver who’s just starting out in the work-at-home field, and he did sound a little sheepish to be talking to a reporter. Still, he was a good enough sport to answer my questions and give me some insight into the MLM mentality.
The product he was pitching was something called an “extractor.” It has nothing to do with your teeth. “What it does, is it extracts phone numbers and emails from businesses off the Internet,” he said.
He found out about the extractor from advertising by the “lead dawg,” a man named Dennis Bayne, whose web site features images of floating cash and promises of business success.
Kitchen paid $249 for the extractor, and he’ll get a cut of any new extractor business he steers to Bayne.
So how did Whistleblower’s number get “extracted” as a marvelous business lead?
Whistleblower was included on Kitchen's second automated phone “blast” of about 100 numbers. “Evidently, your number was advertised as a home based business on the Internet,” Kitchen said.
Strike 1 for the extractor.
Kitchen wondered whether the number had come up because Whistleblower had some connection to a company called ACN. Yes, in fact, Whistleblower had written a story about ACN, a North Carolina long-distance provider. The story was about a rogue salesman who had illegally switched a number of customers’ long-distance service, a practice called “slamming.” My story did not result in any offers from ACN to go into business with them.
I alerted Kitchen that by making an automated call to my phone, he was actually violating Minnesota laws against robocalls. He said he thought the law allows makes an exception for calls to businesses. It doesn’t.
I asked Kitchen whether the extractor was paying off for him.
“No, it hasn’t made me a millionaire,” he said. Actually, he hasn’t made any money yet, but he’s just getting started.
Kitchen said he’s convinced this is a legitimate business opportunity that will take plenty of work but will pay off with a $75,000 to $100,000 annual income. “If I thought it was a scam, I wouldn’t be involved.”
So far, Kitchen said, his phone blasts have resulted in one callback. Mine.